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How To Treat Heat Stroke


Updated May 27, 2014

Heat stroke occurs when heat exhaustion is left untreated and the victim's core body temperature continues to rise. Heat stroke is a severe emergency that can lead to coma, irreversible brain damage and death. Learn to recognize heat stroke and treat the victim aggressively to prevent further injury.

Signs and symptoms of heat stroke:

  • coma or confusion
  • hot, flushed, dry skin
  • deep, rapid breathing
  • possibly seizures


Difficulty: Easy

Time Required: Less than a minute

Here's How:

  1. Stay safe! If the environment is hot enough for the victim to get overheated, then it's hot enough for the rescuers. Follow universal precautions and wear personal protective equipment if you have it. There are also several other causes of coma that may affect the victim.
  2. Call 911 immediately!
  3. Assure that the victim has an airway and is breathing. Follow the ABC's of first aid.
  4. Move the victim to a cooler environment immediately. Shade is better than sun, air conditioning is better than outside, etc. The cooler the better.
  5. Remove the victim's clothing to encourage heat loss.
  6. Put ice on the armpits, groin, and neck area. Cool the victim as aggresively as possible.


  1. Strip the victim completely to facilitate cooling.
  2. Cover the victim with a sheet soaked with water to cool the victim's body.
  3. Use ice at the victim's armpits, neck, and groin.
  4. DO NOT give the victim of heat stroke anything to drink.
  5. A victim conscious enough to follow commands may be suffering from heat exhaustion.

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